What policy interventions have “speeded up” adoption of the green technology?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 17, 2022


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It is chapter 3 of my thesis. It has to be a stand-alone journal-article style paper with all the relevant parts (introduction, literature review, main section, discussion, conclusions) and in line with my other chapters. The whole thesis is about the economics and politics of climate change. I study what economic and political instruments can help the world transition away from current unsustainable state of affairs. Chapter 1 is a simple game theory. There is a dynamic model of how to shape voters’ preferences to nudge the government to be more “green”. Chapter 2 studies a possibility of a useful multinational agreement arising as a result of interaction between self-interested countries with technological spillovers. Presumably, the conclusion is that due to spillovers, such agreement is possible, because countries uninterested in investing in “green” technology may be willing to buy this technology from somebody who has already developed it. It is also a dynamic game. Chapter 3 looks at whether such spillovers actually exist. It is thus empirical (preferably in R with the code provided after the chapter is finished).
In short, the key empirical question which I want to ask is: by how much does adoption of a “green” technology by country j at period t increase the likelihood of adoption of the same technology by country i at period t + 1?
The problem is – what data is around that would enable you to test this? What green technology should you focus on? What policy interventions have “speeded up” adoption of the green technology?
I think the best chance of making this work is to look at a green technology which has been around for many years, and which has become more widely adopted over time. The two obvious possibilities are:
– wind energy
– solar PV energy
Higher investment in either of these technologies leads to lower GHG emissions in the electricity sector. Initially anyway, these green technologies were more expensive per mWHr than fossil fuel technologies. I think that organisations like the International Energy Agency and the OECD would have good data on cumulative installed capacity for different countries over time. You could identify individual countries as leaders (e.g. for wind, Denmark or Germany), and then look at how the relationship between investment in wind in either of these countries has resulted in higher rates of adoption in other countries. That means I’d need to try and control for other factors driving adoption, such as the price of fossil fuels, or the installed cost per kWhr. The policy instrument I could look at is carbon or energy taxes – have these speeded up the rate of adoption?
To clarify the above plan, I attach the following.
– “Unilateral Initiatives as SPE”. This is an early draft of what will later become chapter 2, drafted by my supervisor. It offers a rough idea of what theoretical model I intend to test. Also, on page 14, it has Implications for Policy Design, point 2, which talks about appropriate policy mechanism design. Chapter 3 does not only study spillovers’ existence in a vacuum. It should also see whether any specific policies by certain governments helped speed things along.
– “Chapter_2”. Unfinished draft of chapter 2 as a reference to my writing and the way literature review should look like. It also provides a more general look at the underlying idea for chapter 3.
– “Proposal”. Chapter 3 proposal that I gave my supervisors a while ago. They seemed to be content with it. The chapter should therefore be roughly within this plan.
– 7 papers suggested as a starting point by one of the supervisors.
Journals to look at for inspiration include Energy Policy, Energy Economics, European Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Econometrica, etc.
Since it is an empirical paper, there will be data/plots/tables. I don’t expect them to be part of the pages/word count.


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